Then I Was An Extra In A Friend’s Movie

Hi Blogosphere! I’ve missed you! Sorry I’ve been such a slacker of late. I had a situation or two arise that I had to put to rest before I could take the time to write. It’s not you. It’s me. No, really, it’s me. I mean, I’ve got like a thousand emails in one inbox I have to weed through. Really. But! That doesn’t mean I couldn’t take a little time to make my cinematic debut, does it?

George and I are friends with Jessica and Steve, a couple of local independent filmmakers. Jess produces, Steve writes and directs, and BONUS! They’re a lovely couple. A few years ago they put out a horror movie called The Feed, which got a pretty significant amount of recognition at various film festivals. Now they’re making another movie, called Old Baby, which seems to be less straight horror and more creeptastic brain twister.  When they sent out the alert that they needed extras on X weekend, I was completely psyched to do it. Help friends? Be in a movie? Hell yeah!

Until I realized that was the weekend we would be out of town, at an Ohio State football game, with family. No going back on that. Que sera sera, right? *cue the sad trombone*

Happily, one fortuitous evening I bumped into Jess at one of our watering holes. I truly am sorry, I said, that we couldn’t be part of your all-extras-weekend extravaganza. It sounded like a lot of fun. “Well,” she said to me, “you’ve got one more chance.” Seems they were looking for people to do an overnight shoot. They were having a hard time finding extras, since they weren’t anticipating being done until at least 2AM and the filming was taking place about an hour west of home. But you know, George and I have incredibly flexible schedules, so we thought…hell yeah!

We were told to show up in kind of grungy clothes and/or pajamas since the scene we were filming was all about a late night at a no-tell motel. As an extra, I certainly wasn’t given a script but from what I understand, this film is about people living on the outskirts of society, and focuses on one person with a dark secret. I don’t want to slip and give spoilers, so that’s all I’m saying. When I got there Jess said, “Remember, no one here gets to be pretty.”  Fine. Heavy black eyeliner and blue eye shadow it is!

Baby, I'm a star.

Baby, I’m a star.

We all realize that “blue eye shadow” is code for “she’s a steaming hot mess”, right?

Oh! And here’s George, looking as scruffy as he can get…I did instruct him not to shave, so there’s that…but you know, his hair refused to stay mussed.

Mr. Good-Natured genetically rejects being too sloppy.

Mr. Good-Natured genetically rejects being too sloppy.

Seriously. SO. MUCH. FUN.

The extras were wrangled into the green room–a very nice green room, I might add, which was part of the caretaker’s apartment built on to said motel–where we got ready…and waited. We waited in green face masks and leopard-print robes, in work boots, in shirts pulled up and knotted under the breast.

Extras-wrangler Emily looks on as we wait.

Extras-wrangler Emily looks on as we wait. Some day, I’ll fill you all in on her masterful doughnut.

If you’ve never heard anything about the process of movie-making, bear in mind that it’s not all about the glamour. The common wisdom (which I had been aware of before showing up, and was thoughtfully reminded of by Jess) is that in film, you hurry up and wait. Bring a book. Grab your laptop. The woman in curlers brought knitting. And you’d think that sitting around…waiting…would be kind of meh. But here’s the thing: I was in a room full of really nice people. Everybody was nice. All the extras. The crew. The actors. Nobody was there to have a bad time. And when there were breaks in the filming, we got to wander around this motel, which was kind of retro-dated and so long, so very very long, it seemed like the hallway stretched on forever. With the spare lighting it was totally right for a creepy bit of intriguing, cinematic mindfuckery that this movie seems to be.

OH MY GOD THERE WAS NO ONE IN MY CAMERA...oh, wait. That's George.

OH MY GOD THERE WAS NO ONE IN MY CAMERA’S LENS…oh, wait. That’s George.

Check out the retro paneling!

I think my parents had this in the TV room in 1975.

I think my parents had this exact paneling in the TV room. Then my mother went a little nuts with some dark stain. Suddenly our entire house smelled of stain for a month and was dark walnut brown. That was interesting. And I digress.

Here’s the main motel room set, serendipitously set in Room 13. (Yay for fate! That’s the actual room number, in the room that worked best for shooting purposes.)

What? Like we don't all have high-tech movie swag on our cozy chairs?

What? Like we don’t all have a high-tech movie rig on our cozy chairs?

And here’s the front walkway, where the humble beginnings of my future meteoric ascension to the cinematic firmament takes place.

20140917_220355

Fact: I kind of love that little wooden bench.

Can’t you just smell my impending stardom? No? Sniff harder.

Anyway. We had a BLAST. Would we do it again? You bet, in a heartbeat. I can’t wait to see it. And I can’t wait for the next one. Jess and Steve, sign me up!

In case you missed it: 

Old Baby Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OldBabyMovie

Old Baby Go Fund Me page: http://www.gofundme.com/oldbabymovie

And the motel is for sale! If you want to own an honest-to-God movie set: http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/15824148/1530-Woodward-Ave-Lock-Haven-PA/ It’s in a beautiful location snuggled into one of the valleys of the Appalachians

Good for hunters and you outsidesy types.

Good for hunters and you outsidesy mountain hikey types.

What can I say? This is how we do in central PA.

See you at the movies, y’all! XOXO

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2 responses to Then I Was An Extra In A Friend’s Movie

  1. I, myself, have been in two movies written, directed and produced by an old friend. Both are his takes on the campy black and white horror films of bygone days. The first was about a nuclear tumbleweed, and when we drove from place to place between scenes, they kept filming the pickup that the star and I were riding in “for filler,” they said. When he put the movie together, it was too short (in friend’s opinion), so he added approximately 15 minutes of film of the pickup driving around middle-of-nowhere, Oregon. Worst. Movie. Ever. He’s never given me a copy of the second movie, so I can only imagine it gives the first a run for its money. Sounds like your outfit was a bit more professional. I have high hopes for your impending extra-stardom!

    Like

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